Your old phone number could be used to obtain access to your personal data.
When you have a new phone number, have you ever wondered what happens to your old one? Your old phone number is often recycled and assigned to a new customer by mobile providers. It is done by telecom providers to avoid number depletion, but it is a risky procedure for consumers who formerly owned the numbers. When a new user is assigned to the old number, the data associated with the old number is then made available to the new user. Users’ privacy and protection could be jeopardised as a result of this.
According to new research from Princeton University, the act of recycling numbers will place users’ protection and privacy at risk. The recycled numbers allow new users to gain access to the data of previous users. When you upgrade your phone number, don’t forget to refresh any of your digital accounts as well. For example, one of the e-commerce applications might still be using your old phone number.
According to a Princeton University article, a journalist was bombarded with texts containing blood test reports and spa appointment reservations after receiving a new phone number. “After a week, we checked 200 discarded numbers and discovered that 19 of them were already getting security/privacy-sensitive calls and texts (e.g., authentication passcodes, prescription refill reminders). New owners who are unwittingly given a recycled number can recognise the incentives to manipulate when they receive unsolicited confidential contact, and become opportunistic adversaries,” one of the researchers, Arvind Narayanan, said in the study.
The researchers identified eight potential risks that could emerge as a result of the increased recycling rate. A phishing assault is one of the most serious threats that an elderly person can face. According to the article, if a number is allocated to a new user, they may phish the subscriber through SMS. If phishing messages seem to be legitimate, subscribers are more likely to fall for them. The intruder will also sign up for multiple warnings, emails, campaigns, and robocalls using the phone number. Via SMS-authenticated password resets, attackers may also use the recycled number to hack into accounts connected to the number t online.
Princeton researchers contacted US-based providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile, but the firms have done little to prevent the possible attacks. ” We opened prepaid accounts for both Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, the two biggest U.S. carriers. Both carriers have an online interface for customers to update their phone numbers, according to the study.